Social law as part of public law includes those regulations that serve to achieve the state’s constitutional goal of creating a welfare state.

Article 20 I of the Basic Law contains the state’s mandate to uphold the welfare state principle. In order to fulfill this mandate, social law was created, essentially standardized in the social codes (SGB I – XII).

The central leitmotifs in social law are the idea of social security and social justice. These require, for example, that social law should enable every citizen to have a dignified existence. Furthermore, social law should protect people in Germany from so-called typical, social and existence-threatening risks, such as loss of earnings due to illness or unemployment. Social law should also enable disadvantaged people, such as the disabled, to participate largely independently in social life. This is only a small excerpt of the regulatory intentions in social law.

Zu den wesentlichen Inhalten im Sozialrecht zählen unter anderem:

  • Social insurance (health, nursing care, accident, pension and unemployment insurance)
  • Employment promotion
  • Disability law
  • Child and Youth Services
  • BAföG (training support), parental allowance, child benefit, housing benefit
  • social care
  • social compensation, e.g. war victims and violence victim compensation law


Social law disputes are brought before the social courts. Social law is therefore subject to its own jurisdiction with special procedural regulations. These are regulated in social law primarily in the Social Court Act (SGG), SGB I and SGB X.

On the following pages we will try to provide you with as much information as possible about the basic principles of social law.

We also recommend the following pages on the subject of social law: